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The Peace of Wild Things   —   Poetry

The recent post about the children's poem I found in a movie reminded me of a poem I discovered while watching an episode of E.R. a few years ago. I was home sick and watching a rerun of E.R. on TV when at the end of the episode Alan Alda, who was guest starring at the time, recited a beautiful poem. I managed to scribble down the last few lines of the poem and then of course googled it. It took me a while to find it however because on E.R. Alan Alda's character said the poem was by William Blake. But when I googled a line from the poem along with Blake I got nothing. Finally after some searching I discovered that the poem's author was in fact a poet by the name of Wendell Berry. At first I couldn't believe the writers of E.R. had made such a mistake but then I realized that Alda's character had Alzheimer's so I thought perhaps it was a deliberate error to show that this man's mind was truly slipping. An odd error mind you because I doubt most people know Wendell Berry's work so well that they'd be able to pick it out and say, "Lies!", or whatever.

I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a collection of Wendell Berry's work, which of course included this poem, and ever since it has remained one of my favorite poems. I've posted it for you to read. Enjoy.

The Peace of Wild Things

By Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Posted 3.31.2006 9:57:34 AM

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